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West Ham hero Ilan: I never slammed Zola

West Ham United striker Ilan has revealed he never criticised manager Gianfranco Zola last week.

Aware that Zola's job has been on the line amid suggestions from the club's ownership that he was too soft, the player was mortified by the published interview.

"There was some negative news after the [Sunderland] match, that I said that Zola did not have control," Ilan told the Sunday Times.

"Something was published totally incorrectly in a newspaper that is not very serious here. But it's the opposite. I have never had any problem with him. I've always had good, positive discussions. He's a very open person. I'd given an interview to a Brazilian newspaper two months ago. The paper here went after this old information and translated it incorrectly, and published something negative right after our win when I got my goal [against Sunderland].

"It's not good for me to have this image. I called Zola and he said, 'Don't worry, we are used to this here'. I spoke to the captain [Matthew Upson], who said, 'Yes, I saw it, no one here thinks that. Stay calm and just concentrate on scoring against Liverpool'."

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